Fitting In

For the past year, I’ve been toying with the idea of running with Oakville’s branch of Toronto Olympic Club runners. These guys are fast – lightning fast – so fast that running with them intimidates the heck out of me. But I need a good kick in the running skirt (Wait! Do TOC runners wear skirts?) to push me to the next level and this just might be what I need.

Shawn and I talked about running with them last winter. He was put off years ago, though, when the coach told him that he wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the guys but could run with the girls. Honestly, I can’t blame him for walking away. But now, we often pass a group of Toronto Olympic Runners which trains out of our local rec. centre and we toss around the idea of running with them some night.

At the 5KSM race on Thanksgiving Monday, I spoke with two of their runners who encouraged me to go out with them. I hesitated; after all, I would be the slowest by far. Still, something was luring me in their direction.

Two weeks ago, when Shawn was off with an injury, I finally found the courage to try to run with them. Since it was right after the Canadian Cross-Country Championship race in Vancouver, the group running that night was small, which was exactly what I needed as a larger group would have been overwhelming. Last week, life was busy so I had to miss Wednesday’s run and I truly missed the chance to run with them again.

At yesterday’s race, Kyle, one of the guys I tried to keep up with a few weeks ago, and I chatted while waiting for the awards. After talking with him, I realized that I would be accepted by the other runners, even though their race times are significantly faster than mine. He asked if I’d be out this Wednesday. “Little Ironman has his school concert so I can’t. Next Wednesday, I will be,” I replied. Just like that, I felt acceptance.

Tonight, I stopped at Shawn’s place on the way home from school and told him that I was going to run with them again next week. Poor guy! One injury and I’ve already replaced him with a group of faster, younger men (and women). All kidding aside, when I told him that I was thinking of running with them on Mondays and with Shawn on Wednesdays, his eyes popped open and he commented, “Maybe we should both join then.” When I told him that they are “looking for Masters like us to run ” with them, his face lit up.

I’m a believer in things happening for a reason. My Wednesday night run with Shawn is such a staple in my training that I would never give it up to run with someone else. But when he was injured, the opportunity presented itself and I had the time to run with the TOC guys. And now Shawn, who less than a year ago told me that he was once insulted by their head coach and would never run with them, is also considering giving it a try.

It’s too early to tell if we will end up running under their name but, in the meantime, the thought of doing so is certainly moving me forward. What would you do?

One Reply to “Fitting In”

  1. Do it. Though it's scary to step out of a comfort zone, there's no question that running with faster people will help you get faster yourself. It sounds like a great oppportunity/challenge and you'll probably surprise yourself as you rise to the occasion!

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